Member Story: UT Southwestern Medical Center launches “Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975”

The above photograph from “Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975” depicts the first open-heart surgery in Dallas, which was performed at Parkland Memorial Hospital in December 1956. (Photo courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center Library.)

Last month, TDL member UT Southwestern Medical Center Library launched a digital photo repository that, for the first time, makes available online hundreds of photos documenting the history of medicine in Dallas.

Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975” tells the history of medicine in the Metroplex via images documenting several of Dallas’ medical institutions.

“UT Southwestern Medical Center has strong relationships with three of Dallas’ most important hospitals,” said Matthew Zimmerman, lead investigator on the project.  “So we are in a unique place to tell this story.”

The university acquired St. Paul Hospital in 2005 as one of its two university hospitals and has affiliations with Parkland Hospital and Children’s Medical Center, where the university’s residents work. As a result of these affiliations, the library has access to the hospitals’ extensive photo archives.

Over the last nine months, the UT Southwestern Medical Center Library team digitized more than 500 of these photos to be published online in a ContentDM repository. Additionally, the team created a special online exhibit of about 60 high-interest photos. The project was funded by a Historic Preservation and Digitization Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

To launch the new collection, the Library hosted a lecture on the desegregation of St. Paul’s Hospital, known for being the first hospital in the Metroplex to admit African-American doctors to its staff. Dr. Marvin Dulaney, professor of history at UT Arlington, delivered the talk, which was attended by family members of two of these pioneering doctors, including a son who is currently on the medical staff at UT Southwestern Medical.

“A lot of people never knew about this history,” Zimmerman said, “and the reaction around campus has been exciting.”

Zimmerman said the library plans to continue promoting “Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975” through talks and presentations. And, as a result of the positive reaction to the collection, the Library plans to digitize more photos from its archives, adding photographs up to 2011.

The Texas Digital Library is playing an important preservation role in the project:  While ContentDM holds the compressed image files for online viewing, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s TDL-hosted DSpace repository will hold the uncompressed TIFF files. These master files will also be archived in the TDL Preservation Network.

To learn more about “Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975,” please contact Matt Zimmerman, Digital Services and Technology Planning Manager at UT Southwestern Medical Center Library.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. N01-LM-6-3505 with the Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library.

Read more about the “Dallas Medical Images: 1890-1975” project in a previous post.
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